Stars of Nigerian entertainment industry, popularly known as Nollywood had on Tuesday, April 28, 2015 convened with other dignitaries at the Convention Centre, Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos for ‘A Night of Tributes’ in honour the late Barrister Oronto Natei Douglas, former Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Research, Documentation and Strategy.
Douglas died in the early hours of Thursday, April 9, 2015 at the State House Clinic, Abuja after a battle with cancer.
Many stars of the film industry graced the occasion which also had in attendance, some renowned music artistes across the nation.
Some other dignitaries who were present at the event included: Nigerian Ambassador to US, Professor Adebowale Adefuye, former governor of Anambra State and newly appointed Chairman of Securities and Exchange Commission, Mr. Peter Obi, Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, High Chief Edem Duke, political activist, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, National Publicity Secretary of the Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere and Chairman, AMCON, Mr. Mustapha Chike Obi.
The event commenced around 7pm with an opening prayer by Professor Adebowale Adefuye.
In his welcome remark, High Chief Edem Duke, who described the late Oronto Douglas as a dogged fighter for justice, said the memories of his good deeds will continue to linger on in the minds of those in whose lives he had made tremendous impact in the course of his journey on earth.
Describing the deceased as “one among many” compatriots to Nigeria, Chief Duke admonished participants at the event to emulate the positive traits of Douglas if they truly aspire to attain greater heights in their sojourn on this earth.
In a similar fashion, Mr. Peter Obi, described Douglas as a “fix it all” solution provider, noting that the legend lived selflessly for Nigeria until his sudden demise.
He said, “I know and believe that he is in Heaven right now. But is so unfortunate that I met him only at a period when he was moving close to his death; so we didn’t have a long relationship.
“Even at his point of death, his topmost concerns were about the future of Nigeria,” the SEC Chairman said.
Embattled president of the Actors Guild of Nigeria,AGN, Ibinabo Fiberesima, made a farewell speech to the deceased titled, “Memories Are Made of These….”
She said, “I know Oronto Douglas, you are now at peace. Rest with Jesus, my brother.
“Oronto Douglas, when a cure was not to be, God wrapped his arms around you, and whispered, ‘Come to Me’.
“You didn’t deserve what you went through, so, God gave you rest. God’s garden must be beautiful. He only takes the best, and when I saw you sleeping so peaceful and free from pain, I could not wish you back to suffer that pain again.”
Legendary actress, Hilda Dokubo, also mourned the deceased quoting the Bible in Isaiah 25: 6-9.
She observed that Oronto Douglas had indeed, led a life worthy of emulation, and that God will uphold him in His eternal glory.
Prominent among others stars who gave their tributes were stars like, Genevive Nnaji, Segun Arinze, Ramsey Nouah, Charles Novia, Rita Dominic, Chioma Ude, Monalisa Chinda, Kate Henshaw Nutall, Sammy Okposo, Timi Dakolo, Dare Art Alade, among others.
Spice was added in the midst of the occasion with special numbers from Timi Dakolo and Dare Alade’s, fertility dance by a cultural dance group led by Hilda Dokubo, Rita Domnic and Monalisa Chinda, as well as gospel songs by Sammy Okposo.
The endearing “Night of Tributes” ended with a vote of thanks by first son of the deceased, 10-year-old Ogieltaziba Oronto Douglas.
Below are some Tribute Statements from sympathisers:
Oronto Douglas has left an indelible legacy and those that he left behind must live to enjoy the fruits of his good deeds. As long as I live, his family will be taken care of.
-Mr. Mustapha Chike-Obi, Chairman, AMCON.
Oronto Douglas didn’t give up on me. He made me always realize that I had a lot of values to the world.
Oronto Douglas never gets tired of assisting and putting you through your shortcomings, even when you the beneficiary of his assistance already gets tired.
-Ms Peace Anyiam-Osigwe, CEO, AMAA
Oronto was love. He exhibited it and did not just say it. He intervened in the movie industry at the time when we really needed intervention. He will forever be remembered for his good legacies in our hearts.
– Genevieve Nnaji.
He lived well, fought for and took our cause to the Presidency. He understood the relevance of the creative industry and did everything to support and encourage it.
Below are some photos from the event. (Click on any image to enlarge).